Elsina's Clouds by Jeanette Winter

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A Basotho girl's prayer to the ancestors

"When can I paint a wall, Mama?"
"When the rains come and wash away my designs, Elsina. Then you can paint the walls," she says.

For hundreds of years Basotho women in southern Africa have decorated the walls of their houses as prayers for rain.

Bold, colorful art based on traditional African motifs and lyrical prose tell the story of a young girl who paints her first house and waits for the ancestors to hear her.

About Jeanette Winter

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Jeanette Winter is the author and illustrator of many notable books for children, including Beatrix: Various Episodes from the Life of Beatrix Potter and Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World, a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Book and a New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book. She lives in New York City.
Published April 1, 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 40 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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“The ancestors listen.” Like the child in Catherine Stock’s Gugu’s House (2001), or Patricia Markun’s Little Painter of Sabaña Grande (1993), Elsina is both allowed to express her artistic talent, and respected by her elders for it—wisdom in any society.

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Publishers Weekly

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Rain arrives only after Elsina paints the room addition her father makes for a new baby, and her mother announces that in the future Elsina must paint the whole house because "The ancestors hear you, Elsina."

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